The Colgate men’s lacrosse team continued their hot streak with a resounding 13-11 victory over the eighth-ranked Army Black Knights on Saturday, April 2 in front of over 600 members of Raider Nation. The team improved to 3-0 in Patriot League play and 7-3 overall on the season. In addition, the Raiders earned the respect of voters around the nation by being placed in the nineteenth slot in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll while placing twentieth in the USILA Coaches’ Poll.
“It was a good league win for our team,” Head Coach Jim Nagle said. “Anytime you can beat the academies back–to–back in lacrosse it speaks to the work ethic and toughness of the team.”
The Raiders struggled to get into a groove at the start of Saturday’s contest, as the offense stalled frequently and the Black Knights tallied the first three goals of the matchup. Senior Ben McCabe stemmed the bleeding, however, with a man-up tally at the end of the first quarter off a feed from junior midfielder Jeff Ledwick – who drew the penalty to give the Raiders an advantage – to bring Colgate within two entering the second.
Army scored the initial mark of the second quarter, but sophomore Peter Baum’s hustle drew a slashing penalty, giving the Raiders yet another man-advantage opportunity on which to capitalize. Baum found first-year midfielder Jimmy Ryan just 30 seconds later for a howitzer from up top, a score that would mark the beginning of a five-goal run for Colgate. Despite losing a man due to a cross-checking call, senior captain Andrew Mould emerged with the ball from a scrum right in front of the Black Knight goal and turned to stick it past the Army goalie, bringing the Raiders within one.
Three minutes later, senior captain Rob Bosco evened the score by catching the Black Knight defense off-guard and ripping one through from the far right side. The defense composed by senior captain Greg Perkins, first-year Bobby Lawrence and sophomore James Queeney with support from senior long-stick midfielder Dave Tucciarone sealed off the Army offense. Senior midfielder Frank Coughlin took off with the ball in transition and launched an astute pass over the retreating Black Knight defense to Mould, who zipped it right across to Baum who made it 5-4 Raiders.
Senior midfielder Jim Carroll won the ensuing faceoff and immediately dished it to McCabe for his second goal of the game, giving the Raiders a two-goal lead. The teams traded goals at the end of the quarter and Colgate’s came from Baum off a feed from McCabe with just nine seconds left in the half.
Although Army scored the first goal of the second half, the Raiders countered with two more man-up goals from Ledwick and sophomore Michael Thomas, who ripped a worm-burner through the Black Knights’ keeper’s legs to provide ‘Gate with a three-goal cushion. McCabe powered right through his man two minutes later and put Colgate ahead by four, earning a hat-trick in the process. Army rallied, though, scoring two goals both at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth to tie the game at 10 apiece.
Ledwick notched a gritty goal with six minutes remaining, knifing through three Black Knight defenders to put one through. Army managed to tally one more, but two late goals from Baum, who earned Patriot League Player of the Week honors for his performance, sealed the victory. The defense quelled any Black Knight chances and after a crucial dropped pass from an Army midfielder, Tucciarone secured the ball, effectively signaling a Raider victory.
Junior Jared Madison saved 13 Army shots and Colgate won in most statistical facets of the game, including groundballs (35 to 25) and clears (19 for 20). Perhaps the biggest factor in the team’s win, however, was its ability to draw and subsequently capitalize on penalties. Man-up offense had not yet emerged as a strength this season for ‘Gate, but the team scored four goals, two of which came at crucial moments in the game, on five such chances.
While the game was clearly a huge victory for the team, Coach Nagle stressed that continuing to improve remains the primary focus.
“We will like to see one, if not both Navy and Army again, so it is important that the team improves in the weeks to come,” Nagle said.
The No. 19/20 Raiders will try to build on their streak this upcoming Saturday in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania when they will take on Lehigh. The contest will begin at 7 p.m.